Today we got prepared a little early and after having breakfast we left the hotel at 7:45AM. The plan was to visit Pattadakal which is some 150 km from Hospet and return back by end of day. While coming from Bangalore to Hospet, I managed to avoid NH13 but the jinxed highway didn’t leave us as we had to go Pattadakal through this. Next 30 km drive from Hospet was a horrible. I have not seen such a bad road in my life. Completely broken road, too much of trucks along the way, too much of diversions and work in progress all along the way do not let driver be relaxed even for a second. It took us more than hour to finish this 30km stretch. After that the road is just motorable. After reaching Kushtagi town I thought to leave this broken highway and decided to take detour via some villages. From Kushtagi to Gajengradgarh the road is good. After some 3-4km of Gajendragarh, we took right turn towards Badami. Next 30km we drove through single lane village road. Since this road is void of any directions, we had to ask for directions many times. Finally we reached Pattadakal at 12:30 PM.
Pattadakal located on banks of river Malprabha, a very small village today, was once coronation place of Chalukya kings which rose to prominence in 6th century. This is one of the world heritage sites in Karnataka. The word Pattadakal is derived from word coronation in Kannada language. There are ten temples in all at one place. Some of them are half-built and abandoned while some are completed and are worshipped. The most striking feature is that the place has some temples built in Nagar style (prevalent in north India and Orrisa) and some temples built in Dravidian style (prevalent in south India) and some temple built in a mixed style known as Vasara style.
Here our guide was Basavraj who took us through temples one by one. The oldest temple among these is Sangmeshwar temple. The Virupaksh and Mallikarjuna temples are built by two queens of king Vikramadiyta in 745 AD. These temples were built by the queens to commemorate king Vikramadiyta’s victory over the Pallavs of Kanchi. These temples are carved with stories of Ramayana, Mahabharata and Panchtantra. The Virupaksh temple has a big Nandi statue build in front of the temple (a common feature later followed in Hoysala dynasty temples).
Some 500m away from this group of monuments is a Jain temple which was built in 9th century.
It didn’t take more than one and half hours to visit all temples as all are located at one place. By 2:00 PM we were done with Pattadakal. Finding no place for lunch we decided to have lunch in Badami which is some 16km from Pattadakal. Road to Badami was a narrow one for some distance. We reached Badami in some half an hour and had lunch in an ordinary restaurant. Badami had been capital of Chalukya kings during 6th to 8th century and therefore has many historical places to visit. Before leaving Badami, we decided to give a short visit to Badami rock cut caves which are located in city limits only. The rock cut caves carved out of a rock cliff are truly masterpiece of rock architecture. Total four of them, they are dedicated to Lord Shiva, Vishnu and Jainism.
Other things which are visible from rock cut caves are Badami tank, Bhutnath temple and lot of monkeys screaming from the top of rocks.
Badami is surely a place worth visiting and spending some time. However we were in hurry to return, and didn’t visit much places there.
Around 4:00 PM we started return journey to Hospet. This time, we decided to go though NH13. We reached Hungund town easily as road quality is good throughout. After reaching Hungund we joined NH13 and the sad tale of bad road started. Having trouble with this highway we drove slowly but the worst was yet to come. Some 40km before Hospet (it was being 7:30PM and dark around) on a diversion I suddenly noticed a road hump along the road in center of the road (Yes, along the road!). First I thought my car can go over it (Dzire has a ground clearance of 160mm); moments later I realized, no it’s too high! But it was too late and I drove over it. The car chassis touched to the hump jacking front left type a couple of mm above ground and car stopped. This made car reversing impossible. After many failed attempts of car reversing, a close by person noticed us and came to help with his colleague. Both of them pushed the car from front and with a minute reverse move car reversing worked. I thanked both guys for their genuine help and offered some money which they kindly refused to take.
This time we drove even slowly and by 9:30PM we reached back to Hospet. Having horrible experience with NH13 and tired completely, we had a quick and small dinner and went to bed.
I would suggest anyone planning to visit Badami, Aihole or Pattadakal to wait for at least one year. Hopefully by that time the work in progress would have been completed.
On 3rd Sept 2011 morning we started return journey to Bangalore. We left around 8:30 in morning, had breakfast at same Mahadev Family Dhaba near Bellary. Next we stopped after Tumkur for lunch and by 6:00PM reached to home.